Whales are in risk from threats like acidification, trash, noise pollution and overfishing. But it is a big challenge to collect data about these sea mammals to know more about how these threats are impacting them without troubling the whales themselves.

Ocean Alliance: Snotbot, Drones for Whale Research

Intel is partnering with Parley for the Oceans on its SnotBot initiatives to provide assistance and save our oceans. With the leadership of the marine biologist Dr Iain Kerr, CEO of Ocean Alliance, Parley is committed to undergoing advancing research and education based on conserving whales and the oceans that accommodate them which in turn accommodate us.

To enhance this research, Intel with its artificial intelligence and drone technologies will support the expeditions of Parley and its collaborator network. This research is concentrated on analyzing the ocean environment, the health of whales and eventually, the health of humanity.

To face the challenge of gathering data from whales, a collaborative team and Kerr introduced SnotBot, which is a customized drone that lets Ocean Alliance to gather the behavioral and biological data from whale blow, or snot, to know more about whales non-invasively, without hurting or distracting the animals. 

Parley Snotbot and Intel’s AI Technology to Protect Oceans

Before Snotbot, the collection of information in a standard way for getting the sample data of a whale (living outside captivity) involved chasing the acoustically sensitive mammal with a loud motorboat and thereby shooting it with a sampling dart from a crossbow.

SnotBot collects all the information on biological data such as, microbiomes that help digest food, fight disease and synthesize vitamins, learning more about a whale’s microbiomes help us to understand the species in a better manner. SnotBot can gather stress hormones without adding to the animal’s stress level. Ketones, which are associated with metabolism, can provide us direction about energetics and health.


Watch a video of Below the Surface: A Drone and AI Expedition: